Wednesday, January 23, 2013

On photography, illness and being a dumbhead ...

It's been a long, long week. Early on, I did some digging and discovered that Guinness' mama (GB's Reflection) was actually bred by the Queen of England herself. She was sold to a connection just a few years before my precious little red was born, and was a kinda sucky producer. Guinness was her second most fruitful offspring. Still, I feel this explains the haughty demeanor he can sport around...
My Mama knew the Queen. What's your excuse?
Last Saturday (two Saturday's ago ...) was glorious. Highs in the 60's, gorgeous sunshine, soft and springy footing, and happy horses. It was a good day. Hannah and I took advantage of the lovely weather to scrub mud off hocks and tails, and just play in the sun. The horses seemed to enjoy some playtime too, and we turned them out on the freshly thawed outdoor arena to run like fools.
Note the fools:
Guinness and Teagan acting like the noble thoroughbreds they are (Well, Guinness is, at least).
Pig had lots of fun just being a silly nutter. Including lots of lovely trot work. It was validating, again, to see how well muscled he is getting. His balance and confidence are leaps and bounds above what they were at the start of last season, too.
Don't lie. You're all jealous of that clip job...

After all that fun, we went on our weekly road hack. The weather and our happy moods must have melded together perfectly. The horses were offering such good work. The day was really one to remember. At one point, we raced each other down a fabulously springy clay road. Both of our thoroughbreds trotting more powerfully than we've ever felt. I never thought I'd ride anything more fun than a gallop, but this trot ... oh my god. I just kept sitting up tall, pushing for forward and rebalancing with half halts. And rode what has to be the biggest trot Guinness has. Rode it for a long time. It was memorizing.
THE TROT. This is what I rode later. Seriously amazing stuff. The POWER behind this. 

Listening to the DressageRadioShow (serious horse-nerd alert there), I heard the Olympian competitors explaining what their horses are best at. It might be a surprise, but I've honestly never thought of this before. What a mistake! Obviously identifying your best abilities makes it easier to put emphasis on them during shows and really get the best out of your animal. I can't believe I haven't thought of this before...
Guinness' best movements/abilities? Power for sure. He's not the most graceful mover, but he's certainly impressive when he channels all of his power. Look above for that example. Other abilities? Medium walk. When he's relaxed into it, our medium walk is REALLY good. Seriously good. Swinging back and overtrack good. Now, I just have to figure out how to bring it to shows. I'm getting a hint that our extensions and medium trots might just be awesome too, but just a hint. I've noticed that our trot work is gaining in suspension with every week.

What's your horse good at?

Finally, I read about Katherine Erickson's lovely Ringo being sore and it affecting his ability to stay soft and connected. I immediately realize this might be why Guinness was so reluctant and difficult on the Monday after our trotting fun. After reading that article, I felt like a complete dunce-face (second time this week!) The next few rides, I took it easy and focused on contact and bend. Hard concepts, but easier on the muscles. The fact that I came down with a form of death-plague really helped me keep things low-key. Guinness rewarded all of this with pretty good work, and better focus. Dumb me. Smart horse. So, remember kids, your horses will get sore just like you. Sometimes, they aren't going to complain about it enough. You have to think about it for them!

This Sunday Hannah and I had a lesson with Nancy Kleiner in Indy. The day was long and eventful, so I'll make it it's own post. Needless to say ... we should all commiserate with Hannah over her thoroughbred Mugger's opinionated misbehavior. Here's a hint ...
I promise he fits! (He did not believe me)






2 comments:

  1. Yes, commiseration welcome! Haha...we live and learn, and then we load our opinionated TB every weekend in a trailer from here on out.

    Oh and I'm still living the dream of those road hacks! My thighs might have been telling me no, but my heart was telling me yes!

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  2. I will commisserate with Hannah - Riva has decided that leaving home on a cold trailer is not her cup of tea. But climbing back on after a long hard lesson at JC's? She really wants to come back home :)

    Austen - Guinness looks so fancy in that trot pic! Can not wait to see him out strutting his stuff this season in the dressage ring!

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